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12 ways music can support your mental health

* 12 ways music can support your mental health is a guest post

Music is magical. But also scientific. And great for supporting your mental health!

As a music therapist, I’ve learned a lot about how music can positively affect our bodies, minds, and souls. On your mental health journey, there are lots of ways to use music to help you along. One thing to remember is that there is no one type of music that is good for everyone! How music affects you is highly individualized to your preferred music!

So with that in mind, here are 12 ways you can use music to support your mental health.

12 ways you can use music to support your mental health

1. Music to express your emotions

Emotional expression is an essential part of supporting your mental health. Music is a beautiful way to express your feelings, however you’re feeling. You can listen to a song that you deeply relate to, sing or play an instrument, or even write song lyrics or make music to convey your feelings. Making music can be as easy as tapping your hands on a table!

2. Music as cathartic release

Sometimes you just really need to cry or have a laugh-until-you-cry situation, you feel? Music can give you a safe space to let all your feelings out and feel so much better afterwards. You may even want to make a playlist of songs that make you cry, or songs that are angry, so you have a place to go when you know you need to release those emotions.

3. Music as a relaxation tool

I probably don’t need to tell you that music can be very relaxing. But did you know that it has actual effects on your body that relax it? Both music and our bodies are rhythmic beings. A slower tempo song helps slow your heartbeat down, lower your blood pressure, and decrease the level of stress hormones in your body. I personally like the Yoga & Meditation playlist on Spotify. Β My friend likes to listen to relaxing dog music lol. When you repeatedly play certain songs or playlists to help yourself relax, your body will start to associate those songs with relaxation and make it easier to relax!

4. Music as creative expression

Doing something creative is an awesome way to work your mind, have fun, and improve your mental health! As opposed to emotional expression, creative expression can be born out of the wanderings and imagination of your mind, usually in a more relaxed state free of uncomfortable emotions. Use music to be creative by singing along to a song, maybe even creating harmonies, playing music by yourself or with others, or trying your hand at writing music.

5. Music as connection

Growing up, I LOVED being in choir. I loved that so many voices could come together and make beautiful harmonies. Even if I didn’t know (or like) everyone in the choir, I just felt so connected to the group while we worked together to make music. Feeling connected to others is important to our mental health because it helps us know we are not alone in this crazy world. Other ways you can use music as connection include playing instruments with people, going to a concert (when it’s safe), or even just listening to music with someone, singing along or talking about the songs!

6. Music as a distraction

Sometimes when a million thoughts are swirling around your head and you can’t stop thinking about all the things you have to do, you just need a moment of distraction. Put on a song you love and focus your mind on it. Singing along helps me focus on it, or looking at the lyrics as I listen. Listening to music you enjoy releases endorphins in your brain, which subdues anxiety.

7. Music as focus

For some people, listening to music is a great way to focus while you work or study. I’ve found that I can only do that if it’s instrumental music because I’m so used to singing along to songs! But I can listen to non-instrumental if I’m not trying to read or write. You can create or find playlists that work to help you focus! What kind of music helps you focus?

8. Music as motivation

I love putting on music while I clean or am working on blog posts. Music can have this effect of just keeping us going. In another way, certain songs can be personally motivating for you, either while you’re exercising or dealing with a hard situation. Listening to your preferred music releases dopamine and endorphins in your brain, which are hormones that make us feel happier! Create a playlist of songs that motivate you, or find a playlist like Motivation Monday on Spotify.

9. Music to stimulate exercise

Going back to how both our bodies and music are rhythmic, the rhythm of the music can make you want to move! Lots of people listen to upbeat music while they run (running’s not for me lol), and your favorite music can make you want to dance. Exercise is so important for our mental health. Both exercise and music release those happy hormones in our brains! Make a playlist of upbeat songs that make you want to move!

10. Music as a mood booster

This might be another no-brainer! But if you’re feeling particularly down, music can be a great way to lift your spirits. The technical term for this is the Isoprinciple: you use music to meet your emotions where they are at. So start out with a song that reflects how you’re feeling, then choose songs that progressively bring you to a better mood. And again with the happy hormones… πŸ™‚ I also talk about the Isoprinciple in my post on Joy in the Midst of Depression.

11. Music as encouragement

Music is a great way to encourage yourself. Similar to lifting your mood, find songs that are encouraging to you in your preferred genre. It’s amazing how words put to the right music can affect our minds, hearts, and bodies.

I love playing worship music on my guitar!

12. Music as worship

Music is the deepest way I connect with God. A lot of the time, I even feel like God is speaking to me through the lyrics. One of my favourite self-care practices is getting out my guitar and playing some Christian songs. I also love listening to my personal playlist Fav Christian Songs.

Music is not only a physical and mental stimulator, it’s spiritual as well. Listening to or making music associated with your religious beliefs just hits different. Check out my cover of Image of God and my thoughts on it πŸ™‚

The Point

Music is a powerful and personal tool that can help you support your mental health journey.

What is your favourite way to use music to support your mental health?? Let me know in the comments!

A Piece of Joy

It’s so awesome to see all the beautiful flowers blooming around my apartment complex!

Guest Author Bio

Hi! I’m Sam ☺️ I am a Board Certified Music Therapist, nanny to two wonderful kids, and part-time blogger living in Washington, US! I love to write about mental health and self-care, relationships, faith, and a bit of baking! Other things I love include my husband, Aidan, my black cat, Missy, painting, playing games, being outside, and exploring new places. If you liked this post, you can find me at my blog’s website, on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Massive thank you to Sam for writing this guest post. If you would like to guest post for The Kelly Diane Report, click this link to find out more.

73 thoughts on “12 ways music can support your mental health

    1. Yes! Sometimes just turning the volume up and belting out a song can be so helpful! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

    1. Yes! Music is powerful, and sometimes you have to be careful with music choice because some music can be a trigger to a traumatic or negative event. Thanks so much for reading!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  1. I loved reading this! Music has been such a great help during the last few years mostly to focus and relax. I had never realised what a powerful tool it could be to our mind, thanks for sharing x

    1. Oh that’s awesome that music has been so helpful for you! I love hearing that πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading Cristina!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  2. Lovely post and photos! Music is defintiely the best cathartic release, it’s amazing what a moving song can do to release all that emotion. Thanks for sharing this πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah, it really is crazy how that one song can just make you cry your eyes out haha! Thank you for reading Anika! πŸ™‚
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  3. So true! Music does help us with mental health. I also love listening to music when I’m doing my chores and even exercise. It’s calming and make me happy.

    1. Yes, I feel like a good playlist can help me get through any nasty chore! Thanks for reading Fadima! πŸ™‚
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  4. Wonderful post! Music is such a powerful healing tool. No matter how bad I feel, music always makes me feel better. Whether it’s listen to music or creating it, I find it has the ability to lift my mood and motivate me. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. This is a lovely post – thanks Sam. I love to use music to help with my motivation when going on a run, as well as a way to destress at the end of the day. Music is so powerful and so important to have in our lives πŸ™‚ Thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks Alex! I’m so glad you liked it ☺️ Yeah, destressing with music is a great way to end the day!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post. Music is one of the things I cannot imagine my life without it. The power of music is huge. Thank you for posting this.

    1. Yes, wow, I really don’t know what my life would be without music either! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reading 😊
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  7. Just reading this post was music to my ears. I’ve never not had music! It captures a mood, takes you on a journey, motivates and beautifully distracts all at the same time.

    I think you might just enjoy my latest post!

    1. Yes, what a great description of what music can do!
      I read it, and it was a really cool post! Thanks for reading, and sharing 😊
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

    1. That’s awesome! Especially if you have certain music you ONLY listen to when working out! ☺️ Thank you so much for reading!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  8. Love this post! Thank you for sharing! I love both listening and playing music and it definitely helps my mental health! I like to listen to music when I’m exercising as motivation and music definitely improves my mood when I am feeling down! I can never listen to my music when I am studying or reading because it distracts me but I’ll definitely try and listen to instrumental music next time!

    1. Yeah, it’s worth a shot! Instrumental may be less distracting. What do you play?? Thanks so much for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed it! ☺️
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

    1. That’s great! I’m glad music can help you ☺️ Mood boosting is a great way to improve our mental health, when we need that. Thanks for reading!!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  9. I love music in its many forms and styles! It is a form of creative expression that helps me as much as writing does when it comes down to sharing my feelings and thoughts.
    Music is something I look forward to listening to if I ever get into running, but I love turning on a compilation of my favorite upbeat songs when I am exercising in general. It also inspires me to dance freely.
    Thanks for sharing some amazing ways music deepens our relationship with ourselves!

    1. Haha, that’s awesome that you use music for creative expression in many different ways! Thanks for the compliment and for reading! 😊
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

    1. Even just finding music to match our mood helps us assess how we are feeling and respond to that! Thank you for reading ☺️
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  10. Music always makes me feel better no matter what my mood is! It really does help my mental health.

  11. Totally agree with this post! I remember creating a spotify playlist called “therapy session” years ago when I was in the lowest point of my life. Music can really support your mental health. Thank you for sharing this x

  12. Music! I know I love listening to music and when I feel happy, down or sad music gets me going. And you just outlined its functions on our mental health so well.

  13. There are so many way to listen to music, there’s something for every occasion! I personally don’t listen to much music but when I do, there is so much to chose from!

  14. Music has always been a massive part of my life and I’m so grateful for the way my parents encouraged that when I was younger, because as an adult, I love it even more! It’s the number one thing I turn to when I’m struggling. Seriously life-changing!

    1. That’s so great that music helps you so much!! It’s like a best friend who’s always there when we need it πŸ’œ Thanks for reading Stephanie!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  15. Love this post! Most of these things I’ve experienced before, but I never thought about them as a way to boost my mental health. We have so much access to music and we can listen to it pretty much anywhere or anytime, so it seems like a waste to not take advantage of all the benefits it can provide!

    1. Yeah that’s true! Music is everywhere, but it takes being intentional to use it for what we need most πŸ’› Thank you for reading Allison!
      – Sam at Joy on the Journey

  16. I love this post – I play the piano and violin so music is a big part of my life, both playing and listening to it. I think I have used music in all of the different ways mentioned in this post! It’s so powerful for altering your state of mind. x

    1. Yeah, I like to start my day with music in the shower too! It helps me wake up and encourages me first thing. Thanks for reading! ☺️
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  17. Loved this post – I completely agree with music being a powerful and personal tool. For me music allows me to stay calm and stay focused while working but also gives me a way to express emotion too. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Yessss, I love hearing that music helps someone in multiple different ways πŸ’– That’s great, thanks for sharing!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  18. What makes me happy is singing – I am the lead singer of a cover band – will be happy when we can start practicing again – perhaps in June πŸ™‚

    1. Oh that’s awesome! Singing is my favorite too, but I just do covers in my living room lol. I hope you get to reunite soon! Thanks for reading ☺️
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  19. I loved how you wrote music as different tools that can help one’s mental health. Super true! Music can turn your bad day into a good one and can do wonders for your mental health. It can even trace you back to your purpose. It’s such a blessing. Thanks for sharing!!

    http://www.lifebeginsattwenty.com

    1. Yes! I love that music can be used in so many different beneficial ways ☺️ Thanks so much for reading!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  20. Music is invaluable to me. I grew up pretty rural and my only options were Piano or violin. There is always a never ending song in my head. I can not listen to music without moving or singing along and if i’m in a space where I can do neither it is overwhelming. I had always wished I could have taken dance. When I move my body to music I feel complete, free and full of joy. And listening to worship has brought me closer to God and helped me work through many heartaches. My current favourite worship song is “Let Go” by Korry Miller

    1. I have never heard of Kory Miller, but I just listened and it was great! That’s amazing that music has played such a big role in your life 😊 Thanks so much for reading!
      -Sam at Joy on the Journey

  21. When I’m alone in the car, I like to turn up the music crazy high to just sing along or shout or whatever. It’s a nice release to be insanely loud and can’t be done in an apartment building!

  22. relax. close your eyes. you have known God and you feel like telling everybody the experience memory truth happiness health wealth money impossibility possible miracle eternal mortal finite infinite alive inert dream reality gradual stepped perfect imperfect superior inferior universe number everything nothing animal plant mineral conscious unconscious same different creation evolution credible incredible created with without creator with without beginning end in time past present future from the will to live love care matter. hell and heaven is ourselves for eternity til endless death. there are no secrets. God can not be deceived. truth is life and lie death. open your eyes.

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